Translation of Press Release of the German Federal Data Protection Commissioner 
regarding Amendments to the Federal Data Protection Act

 by Christopher Kuner

German Original Available at

Comment by Christopher Kuner:
On Friday, May 11, the upper chamber of the German Parliament (Bundesrat, made up of representatives of the federal states) voted to amend the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG).  The law entered into force on May 23.  The following press release gives an overview of major changes brought about by the new Act. Note that processing already being undertaken must be brought into compliance with the new Act within three years (for processing within the EU) or five years (for processing outside the EU to which the Act applies).


Amendments to Federal Data Protection Act now in Force


The new Federal Data Protection Act (BGBl. I of May 22, 2001, p. 904) entered into force on May 23, 2001.


The Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Dr. Joachim Jacob, made the following statement:


With these amendments of the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) the provisions of the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC of October 1995 have finally been implemented into national law.  The Act contains a number of changes, in particular with regard to business activities, of which only the most important can be discussed here.


Thus, there have been numerous expansions in the general part of the Act, which apply both for the public and the non-public sector.  The provisions of the BDSG will also apply in the non-public sector for all automatic processing of personal data; a relation to a data file will then only be necessary in cases of manual processing (§ 1 para. 2 no. 3 BDSG).  The Act also contains the following changes:



Of particular importance are changes concerning data processing by the private sector, which will considerably increase the protection provided to citizens affected:


Data protection in Germany in the interest of all citizens is significantly increased by the entry into force of the new BDSG.